Monday, November 2, 2009

norcal backpacking surf trip

a few weeks behind on blogging and i've scored lots of waves in lots of places since my last post. on october 22nd Jon and I headed up north for an epic hiking and surfing adventure. my pack was loaded with camping gear, clothes, a bear can with enough grub for 4 nights in the backcountry, and my 6'5" and wetsuit strapped to the back of my stuffed 85L pack. damn thing was heavy. the trip didn't quite go as planned, as just minutes into starting our hike the freaklishly high tide and 18ft swell flooded the beach trailhead, soaking our boots and sending us running back to the parking lot with our tails between our legs. I'll never forget screaming like a little girl as i turned and ran back towards the parking lot, tromping through ankle deep water in the moonlight.

since the beach was flooded we decided to car camp a few miles east, and figure out what to do in the AM. We found a trail map and decided to take the mountain trail that winded down to the spot. more miles and 4000 feet of elevation to deal with, but no freak tides or flooding to worry about. the hike was brutal, lots of sketchy log crossings and rock hopping, not to mention countless branches and rocks that i had to duck under or climb over with my surfboard on my back (and Jon with his pole). we finally made it to the beach as the sun was setting, and had just enough light left to pick a spot to setup and head to the creek to wash off and filter some water. saw lots of wildlife, including a few big bucks, a curious fox, skunks, and even stumbled across the scattered remains of a recently devoured buck. we mounted the antlers up on our driftwood shelter to ward off evil spirits or something like that...

the next few days I scored solid surf with minimal crowds. got really comfortable weaving through the exposed rocks on the inside, and on certain tides was even doing floaters and cutbacks right over one of the big flat rocks. i heard my fins scrape a few times though, which seemed like a good time to end the session and chill with jon on the beach. we feasted on freshly picked mussels with some instant noodles, peanut butter and apples, and some decent dehydrated Mountain House dinners.

since we had to climb back up 4000 ft back to the car, we decided to split it into two days. however, once we got going, it was hard to stop. had a few sketchy moments on top of the ridge while the wind was whipping and i had to crawl on all fours to avoid getting blown off the cliff. a few miles of really steep and narrow switchbacks in the dark also had me second guessing our decision to forge on, but ultimately we made it back to the car by 10:30ish. by that point we were starving, but nothing was open, and we ended up eating at some sketchy diner in Ukiah, where the waitress was paying off some bail bond people in between serving us. It was nice to finally make it home after that and take a long hot shower and snuggle up next to my wife and dog in my cozy bed. Nothing makes you appreciate the comforts of home like a few days in rugged, cold wilderness. That being said, I'm already looking forward to my next backpacking/surfing trip up there, it never fails to be epic.

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Joanie said...

i wished i could have joined you guys! impassible coastline is definitely a challenge but not surprising for that coast. maybe we have just been lucky when we've gone in the past yr.

Joanie said...
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Colin said...

yeah it was also a pretty massive swell that week...wish you were with us, you'd have loved every second of it, gus too!